Fighter and frontline worker Tyrone McCullagh has provided a withering verbal takedown of leadership figures in both Ireland and the UK as the COVID-19 crisis moves into its third month.
The Derry featherweight and NHS mental health nurse has hit out at UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in a hard-hitting interview with Irish-Boxing.com.
While acknowledging the outpouring of appreciation for frontline workers, McCullagh is one of many to be angered by what he sees as hypocrisy and political opportunism from Conservative leader Johnson.
“I feel they are finally getting the recognition they deserve although it’s sad it took something like a global pandemic for it to happen,” he told Irish-Boxing.com recently.
McCullagh, though, believes that plaudits from certain figures are hollow, asking “will the politicians remember what they’ve done in a years time? Maybe, maybe not.”
“Will they reward it? Not a chance.”
“The hypocrisy Boris has shown with his praising of the NHS the last few months after the way he’s treated them over the years is laughable.”
“It’s too little too late,” continued the Golden Contract semi-finalist, slamming the controversial British leadership.
“Boris has been heaping praise on the NHS, “protect our NHS”, out clapping them every Thursday. This is the same Boris who voted against a one-percent pay rise for the NHS, who openly cheered when it was blocked.”
“Boris and his Tory government have seen to it that hospitals have been closed, nurses have been understaffed, overworked, had their pay frozen, a massive shortage of hospital beds, it’s a farce.”
Somewhat dismayed, McCullagh had a message for 54.4% of UK voters.
“Every Thursday the whole country is out clapping for the frontliners. Well, I’m sorry, if you voted Tory or DUP – all 10 DUP MPs voted against the pay rise – I can guarantee you that your clap means nothing to an NHS worker. That’s the sad reality of it.”
The outspoken McCullagh’s ire extends south of the border and Varadkar also came in for some stinging criticism.
“Varadkar is just one calamity after another.” he said of the Fine Gael leader.
“He’s proven time and time again he’s doesn’t care about the north of Ireland. His latest instance was a radio interview last Friday, he referred to Belfast as overseas.”
“He’s just a West Brit Tory residing in Dublin. This showed when he was saddened that the commemoration of the Black and Tans didn’t go ahead.”
McCullagh’s gripes extend beyond national identity, too, hitting out at the former GP’s infamous call for HSE employees to not take extended holidays during the Christmas period.
“In 2018 he blamed overcrowding in hospitals on the nurses! Said that they shouldn’t have been taking their annual leave which they were due and had been worked to the bone for.”
“He’s a tool.”